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Soul Mekanik
Mio 
Dance-floor Redemption
By Sarah Sly
In ’96 raves were all the rave for kids in Carolina. It was new to us, an oh-so rebellious alternative to race cars and chicken fights. Sadly, as we aged the scene degenerated into mass candy-pop orgies whilst our boys who once dreamt of ruling the turntables turned into well, waiters.

Nine years later, I was all grown-up, gone, and after a rough week in Russia my recently-Dostoyevskian soul was in dire need of catharsis. Where was the dance music we used to love so much? I took it to seek out the cult of sound in the art of Soul Mekanik.

Lucky soul. Danny Spencer and Kelvin Andrews (Soul Mekanik) brought good vibes to the city. The pair’s appreciation and dedication to Acid house shined through not only in performance, but also in attitude. They were excited to be in Moscow and no wonder, they were in a nice part – DJ Caf? MIO.

MIO is chill – smooth lines, comfortable color scheme and pleasant staff. I arrived early to absorb the surroundings and sip a ten-dollar port. (Out of Jerez.) Nowhere yet available to lackadaisically lounge about, I perched properly along a free bar. Based on black tiles laced with neon blue lights, I gazed ahead into a tempting umber-couched hookah den. At 10:00 to the left, industrious house deejays were discretely tucked back in their tiny black booth. And at 9:00, two curved portals beckoned minimalist glances into a fine Japanese restaurant.

Around one-thirty, Kelvin – bright blue eyes piercing like a prophet, welcomed me to his table for a chat. “House is the original music, it comes from deep down,” he beamed. “It’s a gift from an higher power.” Although in agreement, I still couldn’t resist teasing a little, “So how will you guys purify my soul?” He grinned. “Well, go dance tonight and hopefully we’ll play a song that stays with you.”

I’m an obedient girl. I bid adieu and hid my purse behind a couch guarded by a passel of acquiescent Russian parnya. Once the show began, I reluctantly moseyed on down to the dance-floor to do my duty. (I usually prefer to recline on sofas and smoke.) Surprisingly, all the work was worth the effort. Dancing so exhausted me limbs that my mouth had to keep ordering vodka shots. That, or I’d drop – which leads us to the best part of the bar – the bartender. Shall we say professional and sweet? When asked for a little lemon and sugar, he actually brought a dish, four slices and a smile – all five times. (Brim shots no less.)

Back to the floor. . .

House can be conducive to introspective grooving, and it was refreshing to find a venue that provides space a little less like Gansevoort market’s historical forte. Most guys were amazingly respectful, leaving me to move in peace. (Well, or they’d get whacked.) The specific sounds and style of Soul Mekanik were more complex than remembered back from stateside teenage years. Slightly difficult just to plunge into, the infusion proved intriguing nonetheless. Ultimately unable to resist this subtler pull, and despite aforementioned exhaustion, I only escaped anti-gravity once for a plop on an orange cushy cube.

For an evening’s singular complaint: it may be that I flail about wildly while dancing and don’t notice, but certain dudes kept randomly ramming my ribs with elbows – they and their entourage of rude dudettes. Exceptions now noted; the rest of the guests turned out to be amusingly well mannered: cavalier Italians, performers in Angel suits and silver, regular folks, tall pointy people. The scene was neither too pretentious, nor overly arty. Oddly spiffy perhaps?

Content with the crowd, refreshed by the music and pleased with the venue, I’m looking forward to stealing a seat on MIO’s sofa and sipping weeknight scotch sometime soon. As far as my poor soul, well it sure ain’t pure, but definitely polished.

14.12.04
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